Youth Tobacco Prevention Programs
Youth tobacco prevention programs supported by RAI companies, like Right Decisions Right Now and We Card, operating in conjunction with other programs with the same goal, have played an important role in the decline in youth tobacco use during the past 25 years.
Right Decisions Right Now: Be Tobacco Free (RDRN)
Started in 1991, RDRN is a free and easily accessed youth tobacco prevention program for use by middle-school educators, parents and community groups. Funded by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the evidence-based program was independently developed and tested, and seeks to equip youth with the skills they need to handle peer pressure and to make healthy lifestyle decisions, including the decision not to use tobacco products.
RDRN materials are easily designed for use: in middle schools; at home through materials that parents and grandparents can find on the RDRN website; through scout programs, church, youth and sports organizations; and in other forums where trusted adults can provide them with the information and skills they need to learn.
In 2015, we made significant progress with this signature program:
- Redesigned RDRN website and Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest presence. The website provides improved accessibility and ease of use, as well as an updated look and feel. The website seamlessly connects to RDRN’s social media footprint, providing an integrated platform for users to discover and download the youth tobacco prevention resources;
- 65%Significantly increased the number of employees who took part in the RDRN employee participation program. In 2014, 295 employees presented RDRN to outside groups in the communities where they live and work. For 2015 we established a goal to increase participation to 330 employees, a goal we significantly exceeded as 486 employees participated in RDRN presentations. These groups received about $250,000 in grants from R.J. Reynolds for participating in the program;
- Expanded RDRN relationships with groups across the country, including Baseballcamps.com and the American Association of Poison Control Centers;
- Conducted national radio campaign to raise awareness, garnering more than 25 million impressions; and
- Engaged 1,750 educators at national conferences throughout the United States.
In 1995, R.J. Reynolds was a founding supporter of the We Card program, recognized by its yellow-and-red retail sign stating “Under 18, No Tobacco: We Card.” The program offers retailers materials and training to help them stop the sale of tobacco products to minors.
Today, 20 years later, the We Card program is widely accepted across the country as the premier tobacco sales training and education program for retailers, and R.J. Reynolds continues to be a strong supporter of that program. To date:
- We Card has held more than 2,100 classroom training sessions, in all 50 states in the U.S. and its territories;
- More than 400,000 owners, managers and frontline employees have been trained by We Card;
- 44 state coalitions have been assembled to support state-level training and education;
- 237 regional, state and local trade associations support the We Card program;
- More than 1.1 million We Card kits have been distributed to retailers nationwide; and
- State government agencies in 25 states have supported the We Card program and at various times over the years; governors and state attorneys general have either endorsed or expressed support for the We Card program.
As impressive as these numbers may be, the most important achievement of We Card and other programs and efforts like it is the fact that FDA audits show that the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors has been reduced dramatically. The FDA has completed more than 335,000 retail compliance checks involving minors since 2011. In 2015, 88 percent of retailers successfully confirmed the purchasers’ age during retail compliance checks.
We will continue building upon the success of these programs in 2016.